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Largest outdoor mural installation in Queens unveiled at Paseo Park in Jackson Heights

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office

Apr. 30, 2024 By Ethan Marshall

Community members and leaders gathered at Paseo Park in Jackson Heights Friday to celebrate the unveiling of a new outdoor mural installation.

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

The mural, known as “Painting Paseo: 26 Blocks of Joy,” is the largest outdoor mural installation in the borough. It was created by 26 different Queens-based artists, each adopting a city block of the open street. Each artist applied their own style to their granite cube, using a coordinated color palette to ensure the final work was a cohesive gallery walk.

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

Among those present for the unveiling were Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Alliance for Paseo Park Board Chair Luz Maria Mercado, Make the Road New York Deputy Director Becca Telzak and artist and Epicenter NYC Co-Founder Nitin Mukul.

(Left to right) Muralist Grace Alejandra, Queens Borough DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia and Council Member Shekar Krishnan. Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

This project was made possible thanks in large part to a grant provided by Krishnan through the NYC DOT Art Arteventions program. The project was also produced by the Alliance for Paseo Park, in collaboration with Epicenter NYC, Make the Road New York, South Asian Youth Action and The 34th Ave. Open Streets Coalition.

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

“We must continue to reimagine our streets. As the council member and chairman of the City Council’s Parks Committee, I’m proud of the activists in our community who’ve spent two decades fighting for public space from Diversity Plaza to Travers Park to Paseo Park,” Krishnan said. “I’m proud to have funded this project and collaborated with Alliance for Paseo Park, Make the Road New York, Epicenter and other community organizations. Public art unites us, enhances safety by signaling that this space belongs to the people and brings us closer to making Paseo Park a permanent public space for all to enjoy. Seeing color and vibrancy in Paseo Park, reflecting the diversity of our community, is crucial.”

Council Member Krishnan speaks during the unveiling of the mural. Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

The mural is meant to reflect the diversity of the Jackson Heights community. This is also reflected through the backgrounds of the artists, as they span four separate generations and various cultural backgrounds. Some artists are Queens natives, while others are newcomers. Some of the artists are recent immigrants, while others have cultural backgrounds from countries like Bangladesh, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, India, Armenia, Japan and more. They range from experienced muralists like Zeehan Wazed, to graphic designers, a storyboard artist and even a local middle schooler.

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

“The Open Street known as Paseo Park has made 34th Avenue safer, more vibrant and joyful,
and gained notoriety as a world-class expression of public space,” Rodriguez said. “The 26 Blocks of Joy being finalized this month unifies the 1.3-mile corridor and perfectly demonstrates the energy and enjoyment Paseo Park brings to the community. I would like to thank Council Member Krishnan, the Alliance for Paseo Park and Make the Road New York for their support of this captivating NYC DOT Art project.”

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

Among the designs included in the mural are a three-dimensional interactive map of the park, a three-dimensional model of a Vintage VW bus, a guide to local birds spotted at the park, a DJ stand where kids can spin records, a tribute to the dogs of Paseo Park and ginkgo leaves swaying in the wind.

Epicenter NYC Co-Founder Nitin Mukul and Council Member Krishnan. Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

“This project, with artists from across Queens is an important step toward our mission to safeguard Paseo Park as permanent public space for generations to come,” Mercado said. “Like this mural project, the process of creating our shared park must be community-led and draw from the diverse backgrounds and experiences of Jackson Heights neighbors.”

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

The artists for this mural were chosen based on an open call last fall. Those who were chosen spent the winter months designing and painting a single granite cube. The final result from this is an outdoor gallery walk showcasing the diversity of all 26 artists across the 26 blocks.

(Left to right) Organizer Dawn Siff and artists Amethyst Monet, Zeehan Wazed, Afzal Hossain, Kirsten Magnani, Nitin Mukul, Ondine Crispin, Damaris Chamorro and NYC DOT’s Leah Rosofsky pose next to Wazed’s mural. Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

“As a participating artist and co-organizer of this ambitious undertaking, I am genuinely thrilled to see our open street transformed by this labor of love from the Queens arts community.” Mukul said. “This project, the formation of Paseo Park and the founding of Epicenter NYC were all in some way connected to helping our neighbors navigate the pandemic, and frankly demonstrate the resilience to make the neighborhood even better than before.”

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

“As our neighborhoods are often struggling with lack of open space, we are thrilled to be part of making these 26 blocks filled with stunning mural installations a reality,” Telzak said. “The Paseo Park is a crucial open space for our communities to be able to enjoy walking and exercising through the streets of Queens with friends and family while embracing the mural created by diverse artists.”

Photo courtesy of Council Member Krishnan’s office.

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